Patrick B. Monahan


In February of 2019, the U.S. Copyright Office introduced a new option for group registration of up to ten (10) unpublished works for a single application fee, which is currently $55.00. This is purely an administrative classification, and each work in a group registered using this option will be registered with the Copyright Office as though they were applied for individually. Photographers, please take note that this option does not replace the procedure currently in place for registering up to 750 unpublished photographs on the same application and for a single filing fee.

Are My Works Unpublished?

The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101, defines “publication” as:

the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.

Generally speaking, for copyright purposes, “publication” consists of offering a work for sale or widespread distribution. Examples of publication include, but are not limited to, selling prints of a painting or copies of a novel or musical recording. If you have questions about whether or not one of your works has been published, feel free to contact us.

Application Requirements

In order to take advantage of this group filing procedure, in addition to ensuring none of the works have been published, applicants must make sure that the following requirements are met:

  • All works must be of the same type (Literary Work, Work of the Visual Arts, Sound Recording, Work of the Performing Arts, Motion Picture/AV Work)
  • All works must have been completed in the same year;
  • The author and claimant of each work must be the same;
  • The applicant must provide a title for each work (though all works will be covered as if they had been registered on an individual basis, if there is a particular title you would prefer to have visible to the public, please note that in the Copyright Office’s public catalog, only the first title will be shown, (e.g., “Title 1 and 9 other unpublished works”)); and
  • Applicants must submit deposits, i.e., copies of the works, in a format specified by the Copyright Office depending upon the type and nature of works.

If you have any questions about this filing procedure, or any other questions about protecting your copyrights, please do not hesitate to contact us.